Nigerian vies for International Telecommunication Union’s top post

William Ijeh, a senior official of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), is vying for one of the global organisation’s top positions at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018, taking place in Dubai from 29 October-16 November.
Mr Ijeh, a Nigerian national who has worked with the Geneva-based ITU for 21 years, is a candidate for the post of Director, Bureau of Telecommunication Development (BTD) at the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs. The organisation allocates global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develop the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and strives to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide.
The Plenipotentiary Conference is a significant top policy-making event held every 4 years at which ITU member states decide on the future role of the organisation, including the election of the senior management team, the members of the Council and other administrative board positions.

UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, addressing the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018, taking place in Dubai from 29 October-16 November. ITU is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs / Photo: ITU/Twitter 
Speaking to The African Courier’s associate publisher, Cyprian Olika, in Geneva shortly before he left for the 2018 Plenipotentiary Conference in Dubai, Ijeh said he envisioned when schools in both urban and rural areas in Nigeria and other African countries will use computer and other IT gadgets to learn as it is done in the advanced economies, stressing the need to drive development from the grassroots.
Ijeh has worked at the ITU for over 21 years in various strategic positions, including the BDT, the General Secretariat, and the Radio Communication Bureau.
Nigeria has been an active member of the organisation for decades and Ijeh’s election into the executive decision-making body will give the country a better platform in today’s ICT development and in other different sectors, say analysts.
In a statement issued in Abuja, the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta, noted that Ijeh had been instrumental to many decisions and developmental activities within the ITU and it would be sad to ignore his 21 years working experience with the global organisation.
In the same vein, Nigeria’s Minister for Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, while opening the African Preparatory Meeting (APM) for the ITU conference in Abuja solicited the support of other member states for Nigeria, which is vying for two leadership positions. While Ijeh is seeking election as Director, Telecommunications Development Bureau, Nigeria is bidding for re-election into the ITU’s Administrative Council.
Ijeh, who is one of the four candidates vying for the position, has a great advantage having worked in the organisation for over two decades in various capacities. He is grateful to the Nigerian government and especially to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Communications and the NCC for all their support. Ijeh said that he wants to ensure that the telecommunication bureau will provide value and deliver its set-out target based on the ITU constitutional convention.
Ijeh acknowledged that one issue we have currently in Africa is accountability in that most projects are not bankable. “With my experience in investment banking, I would set up a structure that will address those issues and ensure that all projects are bankable. With that in place, then I can approach investment institutions, private investment, donor’s and organisations who will like to assist African countries in providing access to ICT,” he promised.  “One of my goals is to promote broadband and make it affordable for people because if you look at the case of Africa and some other countries, the level of education to a certain extent is segmented.”  
Cyprian Olika
More information about William Ijeh at:

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